Living LifeWise: Healthify Your Favorite Recipes

Living Lifewise Sunday, August 25, 2013 Written by

Living LifeWise is a regular column written by LifeWise Ambassadors –  LifeWise employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Sarah Swanberg

One of the hardest parts about cooking is finding a way to turn a high-fat recipe into a healthy option. As it turns out, there are many ways to make your favorite recipes healthier and still enjoy the food you’ve always loved.

Substituting Ingredients

A friend told me that I could remove the butter from a recipe and my cupcakes would taste the same. My friend was wrong – they didn’t. What she failed to tell me is that when removing an ingredient from a recipe, you have to find something of the same consistency to replace it.

Try replacing butter with applesauce. It won’t change the taste of your cookies or cakes, and will make them fluffier. Plus, it’s half the calories! Who doesn’t love that?

Don’t have time to make a cake from scratch? Use a mix from a box. Instead of using oil and eggs, use a can of your favorite diet soda. Bake the cake as usual and you will have a tasty treat! It sounds odd, but it works, I swear!

The Universal Substitute

Fat-free half-and-half can be used to substitute for any recipe that calls for heavy whipping cream or whole milk. With only 127 calories per cup, you can have your favorite Alfredo sauce without the guilt. I use fat-free half-and-half to make soups, mashed potatoes and sauces.

Greek Yogurt: Myth or Miracle?

I love sour cream. But sometimes, I just can’t swing the calories. Instead, I use plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great substitute in any recipe that calls for sour cream or mayonnaise. The swap is easy – just use equal parts (a 1:1 ratio). It works miracles when making an aioli or as a side for turkey tacos.

Make the Right Choice

Half the battle when making healthier choices is common sense. To help you get started, follow these easy tips I’ve incorporated into my weekly cooking routine:

  1. Cook with healthy oils when possible. My favorite kitchen staples are olive and grape seed oil.
  2. Use a light cooking spray instead of butter to coat pans. It’s an easy way to cut down on calories.
  3. As you search for new recipes, look for recipes that are equal parts veggies and proteins.
  4. Avoid recipes that are heavy on cheese. If you can’t resist, substitute fat-free cheese or light cream cheese.

What tips have you found to help make your favorite recipes healthier? I’d love to hear in the comments below!



Sarah_SwanbergSarah Swanberg is on the continuous path of finding the right balance between leading a healthy lifestyle, losing weight and enjoying all the food. Having completed her first 5K in March, She is finding new ways to include exercise into her daily routine in hopes it will stick. Sarah works in Communications for LifeWise and lives in Ballard with her goldfish Herbert and her cactus Ouch! She is always on the hunt for the perfect cupcake…